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To ask those of you who have a later family dinner get young dc to bed on time?

(181 Posts)
Newtothis2015 Tue 20-Oct-15 10:41:08

My 2 and 6 year old normally eat dinner at 4.30pm with me, there dad gets home at 6pm and reheats his later. I have been doing a trial of us all eating dinner at 6pm and it is not working for the following:
1: dd is starving after school and is eating a dinner sizes snack after school (think toast, biscuits, cheese, sausage rolls, Apple, all at once!)
2: it takes youngest dd 45 minutes to eat dinner as she is slow and steady and has a pudding too which she also eats slow and steady
3: dh sometimes has a late lunch at work and doesn't always want to eat straight after work
4: I am tired by 6.45pm and am slow at cleaning the kitchen
5: the kids are not in bed until 7.30 with a 6 dinner and take an hour to fall asleep so are not asleep until 8.30 and do not want to wake in the mornings

Shall I put this down as not working? Or are there any of you who manage a 6pm dinner and kids asleep by 7pm? If so how do you do it??

Sanch1 Tue 20-Oct-15 10:46:14

We have a 6pm dinner at the weekend with a 2 and 3 yr old and manage to get in bath by 630 and bed by 7pm! Doesnt seem like rocket science to me, but maybe ours are faster eaters? Could you you give DD a bigger lunch then just a smaller snack after school to tide her over? can she have school lunch so has already had a hot meal and it doesnt matter if she doesnt eat all of her dinner, or has a smaller portion? Same with youngest, bigger lunch then smaller dinner so it's quicker?

SparklyTinselTits Tue 20-Oct-15 10:48:49

We do. But DD is only 6mo. We tried all having dinner together when DH gets home at 5:30pm, but trying to supervise BLW and eat before my dinner gets cold was proving a challenge. So now DD has hers at 5ish and DH and I eat at around 7:30 when she's in bed.

SparklyTinselTits Tue 20-Oct-15 10:50:08

Ignore me....totally misread the thread title blush

Gottagetmoving Tue 20-Oct-15 10:51:13

When mine were the same age as yours, they had a 4.30 or 5 pm dinner.
They were in bed by 7.30 at the latest.
My then husband had his later when he got in, pretty much the same as yours.

My kids had their dinner later as they got older and it all fell into line at about 6 pm eventually.
I wouldn't want my kids bathed and in bed so soon after eating.
If it worked at 4.30 then why change it?

Newtothis2015 Tue 20-Oct-15 10:52:31

My dds eat so slow, then want a pudding, then a couple of sweets or chocolate buttons, then take ages to drink their drinks, mess about at bath time, stories are interrupted by potty trips for 2 year old, they both decide they need a poo, then take an hour to fall asleep. Sigh.

BumpTheElephant Tue 20-Oct-15 10:53:03

It doesn't really sound like it's working for you op. We eat at 5pm. DH reheats his if he's not home by then. I'd go back to what you were doing previously.

Thurlow Tue 20-Oct-15 10:54:05

Sounds like it isn't working. I wouldn't say it was a big deal to eat separately some nights so I would change it. Often DD was dinner about 5ish, then DP and I have our own dinner at 8 after she's in bed. If we're all in at the weekend then we eat together. But I'd rather she had dinner when she was hungry and had a good bedtime routine then force eating together when the timings don't entirely work.

Newtothis2015 Tue 20-Oct-15 10:56:58

I was trying to change it as I prefer to eat at 6, at the moment I can either eat at 4.30 with kids or at 8 after they have finally fallen asleep. 4.30 is too early for me and 8 is too late. I guess I will just have to suck it up!!

onecurrantbun1 Tue 20-Oct-15 11:09:55

We have dinner between 6-6.30. The kids don't have a bath every night but on the non-bath nights we play a game or read a book after tea and then start the bedtime routine about 7 or 7.15 (into PJs, clean teeth and songs / stories). We don't have a dishwasher so DH washes up and cleans down the kitchen while I have a cuppa and the kids eay pudding (normally only very simple eg fruit, yoghurt, occasional ice cream) They're usually asleep by 8. Is there a reason it takes your two an hour to fall asleep? That seems to be causing the actual issue, asleep a few mins after 7.30 wouldn't be too bad...

We have a takeaway night each week (usually not an actual takeaway but a curry bag or similar) so I have this on standby if the kids seem super tired and they have an orange dinner (nuggets or fish fingers) and we eat later.

I know plenty of friends whose children have a "high tea" (sandwiches, crudites) at 5 and then a small portion of the cooked tea with parents later. I think it is important to have that time together if possible

onecurrantbun1 Tue 20-Oct-15 11:13:40

Sorry that sounds so patronising - I know some kids take a long time to fall asleep. Just wondered if there's anything obvious which could be changed if it's something you want to make work.

The alternative is wait 2/3 years before introducing a later tea time :-) it won't do them any harm

HappySeven Tue 20-Oct-15 11:22:11

If your DH doesn't want to eat when he gets in could he watch the children instead while you eat? At least then you'd get to eat at a time which suits your body clock too.

Newtothis2015 Tue 20-Oct-15 11:23:17

It seems to take about an hour for their brains to switch off sad im the same as well, it takes me ages to fall asleep, they must get it from me!

Artandco Tue 20-Oct-15 11:24:42

We all eat dinner around 7-7.30pm. We aren't home much before that. Kids go to bed at 9pm. They are 4 and 5. Same ish routine since babies.

They wouldn't eat a full meal at 4.30pm as lunch at school is 1pm and home around same time. They have a piece of fruit around 4pm after school

Mummamayhem Tue 20-Oct-15 11:27:06

I have a similar dilemma would love a family dinner but kids get too tired and grumpy to eat properly at 6 or 630.
DH ends up with unimpressive left overs and I often find I eat with the kids at 5...then again at 8 with him!

GreenSand Tue 20-Oct-15 11:29:37

What would happen if you had "pudding" when they got back from school, then dinner with Daddy? Baths before he gets home?

Phoenix0x0 Tue 20-Oct-15 11:31:19

During the week I eat with DD at 4.30/5pm and she is in bed a sleep by 7ish. DH doesn't get home until this time so delaying eating dinner is pointless for us.

I just make sure that on weekends we eat lunch/dinner together.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 20-Oct-15 11:32:48

It won't always he this way. when they are a but older you can all eat together.

there a re always weekends and holidays to do the whole family meal thing. either at lunch or dinner time.

there's no reason you can't sit with them and have a cup of tea and a snack. with a kid at school/pre school I'd say it's definately better to have an early tea and a reasonable bedtime than it is to wait for daddy. don't stress yourself out and stick with what works. later meal times cab easily mean they are too tired to eat or you miss the tired window fir bed and then deal with second wind senario.

MyNewBearTotoro Tue 20-Oct-15 11:34:01

If 4:30 is too early but 6pm too late for you why not try somewhere in the middle? 5:30pm maybe?

Also, it sounds like a lot of the problem is your children messing around and making everything take longer? Is your DH helping with bedtime? It might be quicker and easier to each take a child and do bedtime, or at least some of it, separately (eg: DH takes DD1 for a bath whilst DD2 finishes her dinner, you then bath DD2 whilst DH reads DD1 her story etc. you can swap children on different nights so you both get one-on-one time with each daughter). You might find you can cut down on how long bedtime takes if you separate the children as then they may be less inclined to mess around.

Also, any ideas why they are taking so long to get to sleep? Are they messing around after they're in bed?

reni2 Tue 20-Oct-15 11:34:07

Dinner at 6:30 or 7, bed at 9. Bath from 8:30. If dinner is finished at 7:30, there is an hour of playtime/ reading before bath time, if the dinner is super slow, there is not much time for play afterwards. Speeds up dinner from a painfully slow and boring 90 minutes to a more normal 30 minutes. Has been the same since babyhood.

ElinoristhenewEnid Tue 20-Oct-15 11:41:34

When my dcs were young we ate when my dh got home from work between 4.45 pm and 5 pm. Straight on to bedtime routine - in bed by just after 6 pm.

When dcs started school, dh had stopped working so we ate after they were home from school at 4.30 pm, followed by reading books, then bed at 6 pm.

Over the years with activities etc we still used to eat at 4.30 pm when I arrived home from work with the dcs having picked them up from school and bedtimes got moved as they got older.

When they started working we ate at 5.30 pm when they arrived from work - we loved all eating together, but early, so the rest of the evening was free.

Now they have left home and I work from home we eat main meal at 12 noon normally (just off to fish and chip shop today).

I dislike eating a main meal any later than 6.30 ish. Cant go to bed on full stomach!

Devonicity Tue 20-Oct-15 11:45:32

I often have some fruit and a cup of tea or a bowl of soup with the kids at 5.00 (so we sit and eat and chat together) then supper with DH at 8.30. Would that work for you?

Umbrelladilemma Tue 20-Oct-15 11:49:10

I agree with Totoro - if DH is home at 6 then he can help with bedtime to speed things up. Then you can both eat together. Could you eat once they are in bed, say 7-7.30, even if they are not asleep?

At this age I think separate mealtimes sound the best option - you can sit with them and have a cup of tea and toast or something. Surely it's nicer for you and DH to be able to enjoy a meal together!

Aspergallus Tue 20-Oct-15 11:50:00

We do this, since we both work nearly fulltime and dinner together feels important.

I get home by 5.30pm and get the tea on.
DH gets DC (1 and 4) on his way home, all back at 6pm.

We all eat at 6. By 6.30pm we're on afters (yoghurt, fruit). No afters for adults. One of us runs the bath around 6.45, bath by 7pm, then both in bed by 7.30pm. Once they're down we sit down for a cup of tea (and our afters if we're having!).

Works well with a bit of meal planning. Need to make sure kids have snacks to stop them going hungry.

Aspergallus Tue 20-Oct-15 11:50:45

Also, it is definitely a joint effort, all hands on deck!

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